Gathering labour force data and making the information accessible to stakeholders involved in workforce development is one of the primary responsibilities of the TWIG. The Local Labour Market Update: Toronto’s Opportunities and Priorities (TOP) Report, is one initiative we take to fulfil that responsibility.


2019 | Beyond the GTA: Making immigration work for all of Ontario

This paper will focus on the dynamics of intraprovincial migration of newcomer immigrants in the context of Ontario. It will examine the extent to which newcomer immigrants currently residing within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are willing to relocate to other parts of Ontario for the purpose of employment and more affordable living. It will also explore the services, features or cultural support in a community that newcomers deem necessary to consider relocation. In addition, the paper will identify the best practices and strategies in use in other jurisdictions to attract newcomer immigrants to rural/remote or small-town communities where there are more employment opportunities.


2019 | Local Labour Market Planning Report 2018-2019

Toronto has one of the most diverse economies in North America and is considered the major economic engine of the country. It is home to half of Ontario’s labour force and businesses; industries here account for nearly 50% of the province’s GDP. In the last three years, the average annual economic growth in Toronto accelerated to 3.7%, but is expected to slow down to 2.08% over the next five years (2018-2022). Our 2018-2019 Local Labour Market Plan Report provides an update to the community on current labour market conditions. This report also includes an update on past initiatives, current activities, our stakeholder engagement consultations and our action plan for the next 3 years.

French version of the Local Labour Market Planning Report 2018-2019


2019 | Retail Trade: A sector in transition

Toronto’s retail trade sector is one of its most crucial industries and the sector is playing a significant role in the city’s economic development and social progress in Toronto neighbourhoods. The retail sector of the city is faced by an exciting but challenging transformation; marked by the rise of online shopping, omni-channel retailing, and emergent competition as technology drives constant change in the way Torontonian’s shop. Neighbourhood shopping areas, malls, retail strips, plazas, and touristic districts are some of the most prominent elements of Toronto’s urban landscape. Downtown, Queen West, and South Etobicoke are quickly becoming premier North American locations for retailers. Toronto is being supported by Toronto’s 81 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), reflecting the city’s burgeoning neighbourhood retailers. Although major international retailers are looking to get a toe-hold in the city, small and entrepreneurial retailers still dominate Toronto’s retail landscape. More than 50 international brands entered Canada by opening stores or concessions in 2017 with over half of the stores located in Toronto.


2018 | Stemming the Gray Tide

In the summer of 2015, the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group (TWIG) embarked upon an ambitious agenda to understand the lived experiences of Toronto’s unemployed. We held numerous focus groups and interviewed over 100 job seekers across the city. These interviews yielded a rich source of data and gave us the opportunity to examine employment challenges and barriers related to various sub-groups of job seekers (immigrants, youth, long-term social assistance recipients, older workers, etc.). Many of these job-seekers were optimistic about their prospects and excited to be embarking on the job-search journey.  Others were far less optimistic about their job search. The focus groups, interviews and data collection informed that year’s local labour market plan, 95 Months Later: Turbulent Times in Toronto’s Labour Market.


2017 | What Would it Take? A longitudinal study of the long-term unemployed in Toronto

The unemployment rate is certainly a problem; but it becomes more worrying as the duration of unemployment increases, leading to long term unemployment (LTU). The Ontario government describes long-term unemployment as the proportion of unemployed people who have been actively looking for work for the last 27 weeks or more during the Labour Force SurveyS. Statistics Canada on the other hand defines LTU as the proportion of the labour force aged 15 or older who did not have a job any time during the current or previous 12 months and have been actively looking for work in the past 4 weeks. According to Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS), those on assistance for three or more years are referred to as long term unemployed.

This project will assess the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal study of job seekers in the City of Toronto. The goal is to discover, describe and document the “life-experiences” of people who have encountered workforce development programming, and those who should be able to benefit from employment services.


2017 | Putting the Ingredients Together: Connecting Employers and Workers in Toronto's Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry

This report provides a community needs analysis related to Toronto’s food and beverage manufacturing sector, much of which is clustered in Etobicoke and North York. The report draws upon a previous research project conducted by Toronto Workforce Innovation Group for the Intergovernmental Committee for Economic and Labour Force Development (ICE). That research, completed in September 2017, examined the role food and beverage manufacturing plays in Toronto’s labour market. This current research is a deeper look at the human resources challenges faced by many employers and the gap between potential employees and employers.


2016 | Supporting Economic Mobility through Toronto’s Employment and Training System

Toronto’s challenge of stagnant economic mobility, increasing inequality of wealth, and the rise of low wage jobs is well documented. For lower-skilled job seekers and the working poor, these trends indicate that the ability to move forward and upward economically may not only be diminished, it is increasing blocked.

Globalization, the decline of manufacturing and disruptive technology has greatly accelerated two long-term challenges facing lower-skilled and low wage workers in the City of Torontoi. The first challenge is that finding decent paying employment is increasingly out of reach for job seekers who lack education and skills beyond high-school. The second challenge, even if a job is obtained; there is a considerable lack of opportunity for occupational progression and positive wage trajectoriesavailable in Toronto’s emerging economy. This applies to young and old workers alike and to all skill levels – but is particularly acute for low-skilled workers with weak social networks, a group with declining labour force participation rates and who are far more likely to rely on some form of income support.


2015 | 95 Months Later: Turbulent times in Toronto’s Labour Market

While Toronto has seen an increase in employment almost back to pre-recession levels, unemployment and low-wage work is still high among youth, immigrants, and racialized Torontonians. These signs point to an ever-widening gap between sectors of the population and layers of the economy. In this report we try to shed light on some of these seemingly impossible contradictions. How is it possible that in the midst of so much there are so many that have so little? What the numbers tell us is only part of the puzzle, other elements that make up this disturbing picture are the lack of coordination among the many levels of government whose economic and social policies impact Toronto and the frequent policy and program mismatches. One of the most glaring areas calling for improvement is in our workforce development systems and strategies.


2015 | Constructing Toronto

Since the early 2000s, Toronto has experienced a construction boom caused by a surge in condominium development; a rapidly growing home-building and renovations market; the expansion of downtown office-space; the entry of US big-box retailers like Walmart; large infrastructure projects tied to the 2015 Pan Am games, Metrolinx’s $50-billion Big Move, and the refurbishment of Toronto’s ageing road and utility infrastructures, including the Gardner Expressway. Not only is the pace of building activity and investment projected to expand, but construction is transforming as a result of new technologies, building processes, materials, competitive pressures, and regulatory challenges. New ‘green building’ models are creating demand for construction occupations that didn’t exist until recently. As a result, existing labour markets, skill sets, and workforces are being reshaped and re-purposed. This report examines prevailing work-site and occupational profiles that will be relevant moving forward. It also draws attention to what a more sustainable construction sector, which works for all Torontonians and is responsive to all relevant stakeholders, would look like.